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George Herbert Clarke, ed. (1873–1953). A Treasury of War Poetry. 1917.

Hermann Hagedorn


NOT long did we lie on the torn, red field of pain.

We fell, we lay, we slumbered, we took rest,

With the wild nerves quiet at last, and the vexed brain

Cleared of the wingèd nightmares, and the breast

Freed of the heavy dreams of hearts afar.

We rose at last under the morning star.

We rose, and greeted our brothers, and welcomed our foes.

We rose; like the wheat when the wind is over, we rose.

With shouts we rose, with gasps and incredulous cries,

With bursts of singing, and silence, and awestruck eyes,

With broken laughter, half tears, we rose from the sod,

With welling tears and with glad lips, whispering, “God.”

Like babes, refreshed from sleep, like children, we rose,

Brimming with deep content, from our dreamless repose.

And, “What do you call it?” asked one. “I thought I was dead.”

“You are,” cried another. “We’re all of us dead and flat.”

“I’m alive as a cricket. There’s something wrong with your head.”

They stretched their limbs and argued it out where they sat.

And over the wide field friend and foe

Spoke of small things, remembering not old woe

Of war and hunger, hatred and fierce words.

They sat and listened to the brooks and birds,

And watched the starlight perish in pale flame,

Wondering what God would look like when He came.